Most dentists do not advise consumption of candies as part of a daily diet because of the detrimental effect of sugars on the teeth. There are, however, benefits to chocolate being included in a person’s diet. Based on validated longitudinal studies, a daily consumption of chocolate may actually improve cognitive function of your brain and overall health of your teeth. A caveat though—all chocolate is not created equal.
What Makes One Chocolate Different from Another
There are three common types of chocolate; dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate. Cocoa solids have the greatest benefits to overall health, but only dark chocolate and milk chocolate contain the solids which may improve health. White chocolates only contain cocoa fats and sugar, so have no proven nutritional value. Milk chocolate, while it does include cocoa solids, only contains approximately 10% solids and has a significantly higher sugar content than dark chocolate.
Benefits of Chocolate
The benefits of dark chocolate come from its increased cocoa solid content. The polyphenols, flavonoids, and tannins in cocoa are considered antioxidants and are where cocoa’s health benefits lie. These chemicals contained in the cocoa solids help to discourage overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the mouth and neutralize the organisms found naturally in the mouth that lead to the breakdown of enamel and tooth decay.
There are different percentages of cocoa content, so it is important to be aware that the more solids chocolate contains, the less sugar it contains as well. Most dentists advise 70% cocoa solid content to achieve the greatest benefit to health and the less sugar it contains, the better. Some dark chocolate bars contain up to 99% cocoa solids.
When it comes to oral health, chocolate still isn’t everything and isn’t a replacement for an oral health regimen. It is important to continue regular yearly dentist examinations and daily brushing and flossing. Your healthy teeth are our pride and joy!